On a blustery, wet night in Melbourne’s west, the Roar were pushed all the way by NPL Victoria club Avondale FC before advancing in a dramatic penalty shootout thanks to a pair of key Macklin Freke saves.
Freke was kept busy all night in trying conditions with a strong wind straight up and down the pitch dictating the approaches from both sides, while the wet weather made footing a challenge for every player on the pitch.
A scoreless first half saw the Roar dominate possession but still relied on their keeper early on, with cup cult hero Liam Boland attempting to recreate his prior heroics from range but Freke was alert to the threat.
That was followed up by a spectacular save late on in the first half off a swerving effort by Kristian Trajceski with the breeze at the attackers’ back.
Brisbane started the second half in the ascendency with an early chance, but it would be Riku Danzaki breaking the deadlock just before the hour mark.
With an Avondale defender slipping on the wet surface, Riku pounced on the loose ball, took a touch to get around his opponent and drilled it across the face of the keeper into the top left corner.
It would be less than ten minutes before Avondale found an equaliser however with conditions continuing to worsen, Tom Aldred was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
Boland made no mistake from the spot, calmly rolling it into the bottom left corner after Freke had gone the wrong way.
As the second half continued both sides pushed for an equaliser and the Roar had a penalty shout for a push on Connor Chapman waved away with a quarter of an hour to go.
In extra time, Brisbane took the lead through substitute Henry Hore who found himself one on one with a defender in the box, he cut onto his right foot and gave Brisbane a 2-1 advantage via a low and hard shot across the goal.
After the break in extra time, the visitors were reduced to ten men after Jack Hingert received a second yellow card.
Avondale pushed for an equaliser and the Roar’s resilient effort came so close to holding out however less than 75 seconds from full time, the hosts found an equaliser through Stefan Zinni who was first to react to a loose ball in the box.
With scores level it was going to go down to penalties and the Roar players held their nerve with the crowd firmly behind Avondale.
Kai Trewin went first, putting the penalty away into the top left corner before Yusef Ahmed converted Avondale’s initial attempt, shooting low and hard to his left, just beyond the outstretched arm of Freke who had gone the correct way.
Henry Hore lead off the second round, putting too much power on his shot, leaving Thom Jonkerman with no chance despite the Dutch keeper going the right way.
Kristian Trajceski took Avondale’s second attempt, trying to go low and down the middle, however Freke, despite diving to his right, was able to stick out a trailing leg and keep the strike out.
Up next was Charlie Austin who drilled his penalty straight down the middle before pausing in the box to receive further “plaudits” from the locals.
Manyluak Aguek was third up for the home side, rolling his penalty low and to the left, however Freke committed early and was able to get over in time.
From there, Connor Chapman wasted no time with his effort dispatching it into the top right corner, sealing a dramatic win for the Roar and their second consecutive Quarter Final appearance in this tournament.
Avondale 2 (Boland 68’ *Pen*, Zinni 119’)
Brisbane Roar 2 (Danzaki 58’, Hore 96’)
[Brisbane wins 4-1 on penalties]
Valley Park Sports Centre